NJ Gov. Chris Christie Leaves Hospital After Asthma Scare, Says, 'I'm Fine'

Chris Christie to be released from hospital after suffering breathing problems.

July 28, 2011 — -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate, left a New Jersey hospital this evening, telling reporters he suffered breathing problems apparently related to his asthma condition.

"I was a little bit scared, but I was never... passed out," he told reporters outside the hospital around 6:30 p.m. ET. "I was communicating the whole time."

Maria Comella, Christie's deputy chief of staff, earlier said that doctors ran an EKG test, took blood work and did a chest x-ray.

"Everything came back normal," she said. "They've ruled out anything else more serious ... anything to do with cardiac issues has been ruled out."

"The governor is fully alert and he is in charge," she said.

In fact, Christie, 48, said he placed a stream of calls to government officials and family members to assure them he was doing well until his cell phone battery died around 4 p.m.

"I feel great now," he added. "A little tired. But other than tired, I feel fine."

Christie was being driven to an official event at a farm this morning when he began having difficulty breathing. After his asthma inhalers failed to help, he was taken to Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J., at around 10:30 a.m.

In addition to the breathing problems sometimes associated with his asthma, Christie said, he felt lightheaded and told aides he might need to go to the hospital.

"I was kind of betwixt and between about whether to come or not," Christie said. "The first thing I thought about was my kids. You know, when you have four kids you don't take chances.

"I don't usually get lightheaded and I did -- and that's what made me feel different about this," he added. "From the time I told them, we were here in less than 10 minutes and I was in there getting taken care of.

"I don't want you or anyone in the state to be concerned about me," he said. "I'm fine."

Christie did not believe his job as governor contributed to his first emergency trip to the hospital for asthma since he was a law student more than 20 years ago, noting that his prior job as U.S. attorney was stressful, too.

But the stresses of work may have influenced his decision to get checked out to be sure it was just asthma.

"It's been 10 years of stress, so you don't want to push your luck," he said.

Christie blamed the weather for his apparent asthma attack.

"In these humid, hot times, that tends to make asthmatics labor a little bit more," he said.

Asked if his numerous political foes might use the health scare against him, Christie, whose weight has been fodder for criticism, said he wouldn't be surprised.

"My political enemies are never at rest," he said, "and if this is what they want to use, I think I'm having a pretty good week.

"Despite the well chronicled issues with my weight, I've been relatively healthy by all objective indicators," he said.

Christie expects to relax at home tonight. If he continues to feel better Friday, he plans to go through with a weight-loss workout and then report for work at the statehouse and attend events, as scheduled.

Christie's wife, Mary Pat, and his brother, Todd Christie, were with the governor at the hospital, but Mary Pat Christie left early to attend their son's baseball game this evening.

The governor has suffered from asthma since he was 15 and uses an inhaler once a day, his staff said.

Christie has been discussed as a possible presidential candidate, something he has ruled out. Other Republican candidates, however, have said they would consider Christie as a possible vice presidential running mate.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie: 'The Lighter I Am, the Healthier I'll Be'

Christie's weight, with which he has famously battled, was not brought up by doctors, his staff said.

However, Christie later noted he has had ongoing discussions with doctors about his weight and they agree that "the lighter I am, the healthier I'll be."

"I've been losing weight," he said, citing a regular workout regimen. "We're trying to do this in a really slow, responsible way.

"In general, yes, if I weighed less, I'd be healthier," he said. "And I think that's something everybody understands."

The New Jersey governor has famously faced a battle with the bulge and told ABC News' Diane Sawyer earlier this year that he was working hard on losing weight the old-fashioned way, through diet and exercise.

"I just look in the mirror. ... I go, 'OK, I got to get healthier,'" he told Sawyer in April 2011. "This job has really forced me because it's such a draining job from an energy perspective. ... I know one of the reasons I'm tired is because I'm too overweight. The more I've lost weight, the better I feel, the more energy I have."

He wouldn't tell ABC News how much weight he had lost.

"We don't give numbers, Diane, because you're setting yourself up for failure but let's just say this: I feel better, I have more energy and my wife's happier because you know, we got four kids."

Christie told ABC News that each workout lasted an hour and that it had inspired his teen daughter to workout with him too. He said that he was working out four times a week.

"Exercise is almost never really fun for me but I did it this morning ... three mornings a week and then I do it on my own on Sunday," Christie told Sawyer.

During his gubernatorial campaign in 2009, Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine used unflattering images of Christie and accused him of "throwing his weight around" to avoid traffic citations.